If you’re looking for a UK holiday location, there really is no better place to visit in the UK than Devon. Why? We cater for everyone, whether that’s adventure seekers, beach lovers or foodies. I can offer you sandy beaches, pebbled coves or moorland that’s fresh out of a movie set. Cream teas, fine dining or floating restaurants. Shopping centres or independent stores winding their way around. Looking for adventure? I can offer you that as well; from climbing rockfaces, to hiking the coast path. Like I said, Devon has it all for your next family holiday. Here are just a couple of my favourites places…
Let’s start with the important stuff; eating. We’re famed for our cream teas, so what better thing to do than enjoy one in style at Bovey Castle. Set on the edge of Dartmoor, you can guarantee you won’t need dinner after indulging in one of their famed afternoon teas – complete with scones, jam and cream of course!
Looking for film set indulgences and something to remember? There’s always River Cottage HQ or their canteen based in Axminster. Whilst Hugh isn’t normally around, he has been known to pop by so be sure to keep an eye out.
For something a little different, why not check out the River Exe Cafe? This hidden gem is set in the middle of the River Exe and is only open during the Summer months. It sells out weeks, if not months, in advance so you’ll need to book it early, although you can sometimes find a lunch booking if you’re not too fussy about the day or timings. When you book, you’ll also book your boat taxi which will cruise you and the other diners from Exmouth harbour out to the dining deck. Not only is it a memorable experience, they serve delicious food and it’s completely fenced and safe for little ones – perfect!
For food on the go, you can’t beat a pasty from The Old Cream Shop in Croyde. Pick from a variety of flavours (try the lamb and mint, it’s delicious!), they’ll warm it up for you ready for you to take it down to the beach. On the other side of the shop they also sell some of the most amazing looking ice creams; consider that your pudding sorted!
I can’t mention ice cream though without giving a shout out to Otter Valley Dairy; their award winning ice cream will have you melting. With flavours such as salted caramel with chocolate brownie or rice pudding and jam, it’s more than worth a visit. They’re due to open a cafe/parlour in the next few months but until then, you can pick up your ice cream fresh from their hut near the dairy farm itself. Finally, if you’re walking the Tarka Trail, don’t miss the cakes at Fremington Quay Cafe. Blimey, it’s making my mouth water just at the thought.
When it comes to the locations to stay in, there are some easy wins that you really should check out. Personally, I’d always recommend self catering accomodation in Devon. It offers you the flexibility that’s often needed with young ones whilst often keeping costs that little bit lower, so there’s more money for exploring and eating out! Some of my personal choices include:
In North Devon, Knelle Lodge Apartments in Braunton offer incredible views of the coast line and are a stone’s throw from Saunton Sands beach. For taking in the tropical feel of the English Riviera; Torbay and South Devon, you’d be foolish not to try somewhere like 61 Above Town in Dartmouth. Finally, for Dartmoor wanderings a base such as the Bird’s Nest makes for a perfect relaxation point after a busy day on the moor.
For long sandy beaches, you can’t beat North Devon. Visit Saunton Sands for a mile long stretch of sand that’s perfect for wearing out little legs (and is suitable for dogs, year round). Go around the headland to get to body boarding and surfing hotspot; Croyde. Whilst you’re there, why not hire bikes and explore the Tarka Trail, one of the country’s longest traffic free biking and walking paths which is pleasantly flat!
Looking for more adventure? I can’t mention Devon without talking about Dartmoor National Park. Peppered with rocky tors, you can pick and choose your walking route depending on your ability and energy levels. For beginners, Hay Tor is a popular choice. Park at the free car park at the bottom and meander your way to the top before scrambling up the rocks for some impressive views. If you’re in to climbing then Dartmoor’s choc full of routes to suit every level.
For a lazy day on the water, make your way down to Exeter Quay and hire canoes. From there you can row your way along the canal, stopping at some of the pubs along the way to reward your efforts. For those without their water wings, take a stroll along the canal path or meet the rest of them at either Double Locks or even further down at Turf Locks; a pub that’s inaccessible by car and looks out over the estuary. Bliss.
Finally, for some family fun, why not head up to Holden Hill and explore the woods. Based outside of Exeter, it’s a great area for bike trails or walking. Hunt the Gruffalo with their new orienteering course, follow the Highway Rat as he makes his way round the woods or swing from the trees with Go Ape. It’s one of our favourite places to spend the day, whether that’s a leisurely stroll or burning off some toddler energy!